Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dragonwyck (1946)

Dragonwyck(1946). Period/drama. Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Producer: Darryl F. Zanuck and Ernst Lubitsch. Based on the novel Dragonwyck by Anya Seton. Music score: Alfred Newman. Cinematography: Arthur C. Miller. Cast: Gene Tierney, Walter Huston and Vincent Price, with Glenn Langan, Anne Revere, Spring Byington, Harry Morgan and Jessica Tandy.

Dragonwyck, is one of those films that would lose it's moody atmosphere if it were in color. I thought Vincent Price did an outstanding performance in one of his first films. The story starts as the innocent farmers daughter Miranda (Gene Tierney), excited to learn that she is related to the rich Van Ryn. And is being invited to visit their beautiful mansion to take care of his young daughter.. Miranda is instantly attracted to the handsome Nicholas, the owner of "Dragonwyck". Mean while, Nicholas busy fighting off a revolt of his tenant farmers and coming up with a plan to get rid of his wife. (Because she has not given him a son.) Miranda moves back home with her parents after the wife's death. Not long... Nicholas comes for her and they marry and Miranda gives birth to a son, the boy is not healthy and does not live. Nicholas begins to slip into insanity, moving to the attic of his mansion to live in his world of drug addiction..

A broken hearted Miranda looks for help from the the local doctor, Dr. Jeff Turner (Jeff Langan). Dr. Turner falls in love with Miranda, and he eventually learns that Nicholas killed his first wife to be with her, and he fears that Miranda might be next on the list.
Dragonwyck Movie Trailer.


Gregory Peck was the first choice to play Nicholas Van Ryn, but he bowed out when he learned Ernst Lubisch was dropping out as director. When second choice Laird Cregar died, Price was assigned.

Vincent Price lost 30 lbs. for the film.
Anne Revere (June 25, 1903 – December 18, 1990). Revere was a direct descendant of Paul Revere. She made her Broadway debut in, The Great Barrington (1931). Three years later, she went to Hollywood to reprise her stage role in the film, Double Door. She returned to Broadway to create the original role in the 1934 production of, The Children's Hour, and in later years she appeared on the New York stage in As You Like It, The Three Sisters, and Toys in the Attic (play), for which she won the 1960 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play.

Revere worked as a character actress in many films, performing in nearly three dozen films between 1934 and 1951. She frequently was cast in the role of a matriarch. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress three times and won for her performance in the film, National Velvet. Some of her other films include: The Song of Bernadette, Gentleman's Agreement, The Keys of the Kingdom, Body and Soul and A Place in the Sun.

She did not perform again on film for the next twenty years, finally returning to the screen in, Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon. She also began performing on television soap operas such as: The Edge of Night, Search for Tomorrow and Ryan's Hope.

Revere and her husband, theatre director Samuel Rosen, moved to New York and opened an acting school, and she continued to work in summer stock, theater and on television.

It is a fictional story of Miranda Wells and her marriage to Nicholas Van Ryn, set against an historical background of the Anti-Rent Wars, the Astor Place Riots, and steamboat racing on the Hudson River.

The book focuses on Miranda Wells: her longing for her rich cousin Nicholas Van Ryn and her marriage to him and her discovery of her husband's dark and twisted life.

The novel was adapted into the film Dragonwyck, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and starring Gene Tierney, Walter Huston and Vincent Price.

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